Homemade Chicken Broth

I love finding ways to make homemade versions of store bought staples.  Chicken broth is one thing that's so easy to make at home, is less expensive, and you know exactly what's in it. 

I used to wonder what the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock was, or if they were the same thing.  While they do contain the same ingredients, the difference is in the cooking method.

Chicken broth is made from mainly chicken meat and parts, with more meat than bones. Stock is made from chicken parts and bones, with more bones than meat. Simple huh?

When making broth it's reduced for 3 hours, and chicken stock is reduced for at least 6 hours.  Since stock has a longer reduction time, it contains more gelee from the bones. (That gross brown jelly-looking stuff.)

This makes stock better for de-glazing a pan than broth, because the gelee helps to bind the pan drippings together to form a pan sauce.

Anyway, that's the basic explanation of the two.  I like to make chicken broth from the leftover carcass when I roast a chicken.  It makes for a flavorful broth, and I feel like I'm being frugal. :)

Chicken Broth 

1 leftover cooked chicken ( about 5 lb.)
1 medium onion cut in half (optional)
2 large carrots trimmed and peeled  (optional)
1 root end of a whole celery stalk, 2 inches long (optional)
1/2 cup parsley, stems only (optional)
salt (optional)
cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches

Step One: Place your leftover chicken carcass in a large stockpot and cover with water until chicken is covered by two inches of water.  Since your roasted chicken has herbs and seasonings already in it, you can just use the chicken or you can add the extra vegetables for added flavor. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. After the first boil, use a large spoon to skim any residue floating on the surface.

Step Two: Remove carcass, bones and vegetables from the broth.  If there was any leftover meat on the chicken, remove the meat and save. Discard bones and vegetables, then pour broth through a fine strainer into a large bowl.  Add salt to taste, as needed or desired.  Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Step Three: The next day, remove all of the solidified fat from the surface of the broth with a large spoon.  Then pour the broth through a strainer one more time.

Now, I like to pour half cup portions of the broth into muffin pans and freeze.  Once frozen, remove the frozen portions of broth and place in a freezer bag.  This will keep for several months in the freezer.  Whenever you need broth, you can just remove as much of the portions as you need, and defrost them for use.

Tip: You can use the leftover chicken in salads, casseroles, chicken salad, sandwiches, etc.  If you have a leftover chicken, but don't want to make the broth right away, freeze the chicken until you are ready.  You can also wait until you have several leftover chickens, then un-thaw and make one large batch.

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